Politics

Liberal candidate apologizes for calling early vaccine takers 'entitled' guinea pigs

A Liberal candidate in Calgary has apologized for tweets in which she used a profanity in reference to Albertans and also described those who rushed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as "entitled" and "guinea pigs."

Warning: This story contains profanity

Last November, on her personal Twitter account, Jessica Dale-Walker compared people willing to take the newly developed COVID-19 vaccines to lab animals. (@JessicaDaleWalk/Twitter)

A Liberal candidate in Calgary has apologized for tweets in which she used a profanity in reference to the people of Alberta, and also described those who rushed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as "entitled" and "guinea pigs."

Jessica Dale-Walker is running in the federal election for the Liberals for Calgary Nose Hill. Last November — on her personal Twitter account — Dale-Walker compared people willing to take the newly developed COVID-19 vaccines to lab animals.

"I chose to allow the entitled to flock for the vaccine like they demanded to be the guinea pigs, that way should there be problems those with brains were left behind," Dale-Walker tweeted in November 2020.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has made widespread vaccination a core principle of his re-election campaign, insisting on mandatory vaccinations for federal government employees and for those who travel domestically by air or trains that cross provincial borders.

When CBC News contacted the Liberal Party campaign for comment, it issued an apology on Dale-Walker's behalf.

Dale-Walker also apologized in a statement to CBC, sent from the Liberal national campaign. She called the tweet "thoughtless and wrong."

The Twitter account assigned to Jessica Dale-Walker was locked Thursday night. CBC News took screen grabs of these tweets before the account was locked. (@JessicaDaleWalk/Twitter)

In the statement, she said what's expressed in the tweets is "certainly not how I feel today."

"I want to be absolutely clear I am double vaccinated and I believe all Canadians, who can, should be. If my brash comments caused anyone to think otherwise, I apologize," the statement said.

"I am part of a team that believes in public health measures. Vaccines are our most effective tool to combat COVID-19, and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated."

Harsh words for Albertans

The tweet concerning the vaccine wasn't Dale-Walker's only social media post that attracted negative attention. In March of 2020, she posted a tweet thread criticizing what she described as a tendency by Alberta politicians to blame the federal government for many provincial problems.

She wrote Alberta needs to "fit in or f--k off. We Alberta need to start fitting in. Because quite frankly, we are not as superior as our government touts."

The controversy was first reported by True North.

Dale-Walker is running against Conservative incumbent Michelle Rempel Garner. She responded to Dale-Walker's tweets on her website Thursday night, urging Trudeau to condemn the comments, and "explain why this Alberta bashing is welcome in his party."

Michelle Rempel Garner, the Conservative candidate in Calgary Nose Hill, is running against Jessica Dale-Walker. She urged Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to condemn Dale-Walker's comments. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

"At a time when the country should be coming together to fight the pandemic and focus on the economic recovery – once again the Liberals choose to divide Canadians and Albertans," Rempel Garner wrote.

Twitter account locked

Dale-Walker locked her account shortly after CBC News contacted the Liberal Party for comment. On Thursday night, she was at a rally in the northeast Calgary riding of Calgary Skyview with Trudeau and George Chahal, the Liberal candidate for Calgary Skyview.

Trudeau used the event to repeat his pro-vaccine message and to attack Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

"You deserve a government who is going to say get vaccinated," Trudeau told the crowd.

"Your provincial government made wrong decision after wrong decision. The federal government stepped up."

with files from Ashley Burke

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